Thursday, August 15, 2013

Teddy Roosevelt Quote

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. 

~Teddy Roosevelt
Citizenship in a Republic, a speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, France (23 April 1910).

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wild Idaho 50k by Michelle Anderson

This race was my very first attempt at an ultra back in 2011. I made it 19 miles that day but did not finish. Physically I was in the best shape I had ever been in but I didn’t realize how mentally prepared you need to be to actually finish an ultra which is why I didn’t finish that year. So in 2012 I signed up for Wild Idaho again but woke up the day of the race and decided I did not want to do it. I wasn’t having fun anymore at trail racing.  Races had become hard for me because I had put some weight back on. So this year I was determined to lose some weight, train hard, and finish this race.

Since January of this year I have been losing weight (48lbs) and getting in to shape to finally complete Wild Idaho.

Ryan and I drove up to Boiling Springs campground the night before the race and we arrived after the pre-race briefing. I went and checked in and visited with a few friends. All too soon it was time to go to bed.  We were sleeping in the back of our Expedition which is pretty comfy. I was starting early so I set my alarm to go off at 4am but when it did I just turned it off and went back to sleep. Finally I got up about 4:45am, got all my stuff, and ate breakfast.  At 5:30 I told Ben I was ready to start the race. He did a countdown and I was off (everyone else started a half hour after me).

Mike Blessing and me
It was so peaceful being out all alone and I didn’t even hear any scary things in the bushes. When the first place runner for the 50k passed me I was about 4 miles into the race then after that it was a steady stream of people. I made it to the Silver Creek Saddle aid station for the first time grabbed some food, and took off towards Silver Creek Lookout. I would be passing through this same aid station two more times.  Once I made it to Silver Creek Lookout I had to stop and take in the view.  It is just so beautiful up there! Right before I reached the top Mike Blessing, the sweeper of the race, caught up to me told me that a friend of mine Dondi and another lady were probably ½ mile behind me. He was right once I turned around and started back down I saw Dondi.

Dondi was my saving angel for this race. I had forgotten my trekking poles which I use for steep races and Dondi let me borrow hers. Thank you!

I made it back to the aid station for the second time filled my pack with water grabbed some more food and headed down an ATV trail where I saw everyone coming back up the trail.  As soon as I got on the ATV trail Dondi caught up to me I was able to run with her for maybe ½ mile before she took off.  At the bottom of the hill I saw Mike again and he told me that he was going to catch up to the last 50 mile runner and also mentioned that I needed to beat him back to the Boiling Springs aid station!  I turned around and started back up the hill and by then the other lady that was behind me was only a ¼ mile back.  She caught up to me pretty quick.  We chatted for a few minutes and she mentioned that before I do another race I should get shorter poles. I told her I was just thankful I had poles and that I was borrowing them from a friend who is a GIANT!  She wished me luck and was on her way.

When I got to the aid station for the third and final time I grabbed more food thanked them for volunteering and was on my way for some sweet (not steep or rocky) downhill. I pulled out my music for this section and did a run/walk occasionally stopping to stretch out my calves.  They were starting to cramp up and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. When I had 2 miles left before I was to reach the Boiling Springs aid station I was remembering the first year I had attempted this race.  At this point in the race two years ago I was crying and had already given up mentally but not this year!  I was even thinking that the first half of the race was fairly easy. There weren’t many people left doing the 50 mile that were behind me so I was alone quite a bit.

Mile 17.5 at Boiling Springs
I was excited to reach the aid station where Ryan was volunteering. He would be joining me for the second half of the race and I was looking forward to it. Once I got there he took care of my pack filled it with ice water and I grabbed more food then we were off. I knew that the first mile out of the aid station is crazy steep but I just took it steady and put one foot in front of the other. Pretty soon I was at the top where there is a nice tree that had fallen down and is a good place to take a break which I did. I watched my watch and only allowed myself 2 minutes to rest. I saw Mike coming up the trail and since Ryan was with me he said he would just catch up to the last 50 mile runner and he was on his merry way. I was a little bummed because I wanted to hear some of his funny stories. 

Half naked dudes
I kept seeing the other runners coming back down the trail for their last few miles to the finish line. It was fun watching how well everyone was doing. I told Ryan that since Mike wasn’t going to entertain me with stories that he (Ryan) would have to. Ryan pointed out that we have been together long enough (almost 19 years) that I’ve heard them all but what you all don’t know is when Ryan tells stories they are never the same version. They just get better and better. When we left the log we started downhill for awhile.  Just after that, the trail flattened out for a few miles which was nice. Since Ryan had done the 50 mile race last year I kept asking him if we were close to the next aid station he wasn’t sure because it all looked the same (I think it’s because he runs to fast and everything gets blurry). He was ahead of me and rounded a corner and said “I see the aid station!” Finally I could sit down for a few minutes and rest. Once I could see the aid station I saw a couple of guys with their shirts off and said “my prayers have been answered half naked men woohoo!” They were runners and soon left. The volunteers at the Wet Foot aid station were so funny, kind, and helpful I didn’t want to leave but I had to.

Ryan pointed out the trail that we would be going on as we left the aid station and I used a few colorful words once I saw it.  My language didn’t improve much for the rest of the race.  For the next 2.5 miles I had to climb up, up, up. The trail was so steep I was using the poles to pull me up and the whole time I was getting worried because I had to come back down the same way and knew it was going to be hard on my knees. At this point in the race I wasn’t having fun anymore. It was hot, I was in pain, and it felt like it was never going to end. I took my time whenever I saw a log on the side of the trail I sat down. Ryan could never stay put though because the flies were bothering him although I didn’t even notice them. It was great seeing all our friends come bombing down the trail like they were being chased by a mountain lion. Every time one of them came by I was just amazed at their speed.  The trail was so steep I thought for sure they would trip and fall then go rolling down the hill!

The last push over Skunk Creek Summit
Once you make it to the top of the hill then it’s a ¼ mile downhill to the aid station which was a very welcome sight. I was starting to feel sick so I actually took a little longer at the Skunk Creek aid station to try and settle my stomach.  While we were there a runner came in and said another runner was on the side of the trail and wasn’t feeling well so the volunteers started up the trail to see if they could help. It turned out that it was our friend Christine. Just a few minutes later she came walking into the aid station and didn’t look good. We hung around talking to her and once I knew that she was well taken care of we took off back up the trail 8 miles left to go. We had only been back on the trail 30 minutes when Christine came running by us. She recovered and was looking awesome. Another friend of ours Emily was right behind her. Both ladies did really well!

Mile 28 just before Wetfoot aid station
The downhill was just as bad as I thought it would be. My knees felt like they were going to explode.  This is about where the tears started and wouldn’t stop. This is also where Ryan said to be thankful I wasn’t running 100 miles (which wasn’t helpful!). All I kept thinking about was getting back to the Wet Foot aid station then I saw what time it was and saw that my goal for the race was still in reach. Finally we made it back and once again I didn’t want to leave as I was having a good time visiting.

From there it is 5.5 miles back to the finish line but to me it seemed so much farther. I had already been out for 13.5 hours I was tired, dirty and ready to be finished but the only way to do that was to keep moving.  I was hoping with the flat trail ahead that I would be able to run but it just hurt too bad. So I kept walking. I think Ryan was wishing he had brought ear plugs so he wouldn’t have to listen to me whine. Several times I stopped and asked for a hug I was so physically and emotionally drained by then. Once we finished the last uphill section, I stopped at a log where I had made the decision to drop out of the race back in 2011.
'The Log'

It was a wonderful feeling knowing that I had continued on and made it back to this spot this time. From there we had about a mile left to go. It was the most painful mile yet 3 runners passed me going down to the finish line and I couldn’t even manage a smile anymore. I just wanted to be done. Finally we were off the trail and back on the road. For the last ½ mile of the race I needed my headlamp I was hoping to not have to use it but I just wasn’t fast enough.

Once we could see the finish line Ryan whistled to let everyone know that we were almost there and Ben gets on his bull horn and says “come on Michelle sprint it in” so of course I started running again and crossed the finish line holding hands with my Husband. I gave him a hug and thanked him for helping me finish the race. I was surprised to see so many people at the finish line and I loved giving them all hugs. I stayed for a few minutes then took a baby wipe bath crawled into bed and was out like a light.

Before I had finished the race I told Ryan that it was the hardest race I’ve ever done and I have no desire to do it again.  For days after the race I was really upset with myself for the way I acted the last 4 miles. Crying and whining wasn’t going to get me to the finish line any sooner. I set out to finally finish what I started back in 2011 and I am proud of what I accomplished.

Miles 33.7 - Elevation Gain 8,252 feet - Finish time 16:17
Me and Ben Blessing the Wild Idaho RD

Thanks to Tony Salazar at Tempus Photo and Design for many of the pictures included.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hold yourself responsible...

"Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself-and be lenient to everybody else."

— Henry Ward Beecher

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Color Run!

The Color Run is coming to Boise on August 24th.  Come join the fun and support a great charity.  The
charity partner for this race is the Girls Scouts of Silver Sage Council.  You can find additional information on the race HERE

Don't forget to use this code when registering for $5 off of registration too!

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